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History of Space Exploration

Siddharth Rajpriye GT 3rd Year

Ancient Rockets

Humans have dreamed about spaceflight since antiquity. The Chinese used rockets for ceremonial and military purposes centuries ago, but only in the latter half of the 20th century were rockets developed that were powerful enough that could open space to human exploration.

Ancient Rockets ● Humans have dreamed about spaceflight since antiquity. ● The Chinese used rockets for

Modern Rockets

As often happens in science, the earliest practical work on rocket engines designed


for spaceflight occurred simultaneously during the early 20th century in three


countries by three key scientists: in Russia, by Konstantin Tsiolkovski; in the United States, by Robert Goddard; and in Germany, by Hermann Oberth.



During WW2, Germans had developed a surface-to-surface multiple rocket launcher, the Nebelwerfer and the Soviets already had introduced the RS-132 air-to-ground rocket.

First Man on Space

In October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space. Four years later on April 12, 1961, Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit Earth in Vostok 1. His flight lasted 108 minutes, and Gagarin reached an altitude of 327 kilometers (about 202 miles).

Space Race

“Landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth within a decade” was a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The Space Race has left a legacy of Earth communications and weather satellites, and continuing human space presence on the International Space Station. It has also sparked increases in spending on education and research and development, which led to beneficial spin-off technologies. First Satellite-USSR First Man on Space-USSR First Man on Moon-USA

Apollo and other missions

On July 20, 1969, Astronaut Neil Armstrong took “a giant step for mankind” as he stepped onto the moon. Six Apollo missions were made to explore the moon between 1969 and 1972. Mariner spacecraft was orbiting and mapping the surface of Mars. By the end of the decade, the Voyager spacecraft had sent back detailed images of Jupiter and Saturn, their rings, and their moons.

Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as part of the Space Shuttle program.

Five complete Shuttle systems were built and used on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011.

The Space Shuttle was retired from service upon the conclusion of Atlantis's final flight on July 21, 2011.


The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and other fields. The station is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.

Targets of Exploration

Mercury- Least explored, Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions Venus-First target of interplanetary flyby lander missions, Mariner 2 Mars- MOM etc. Jupiter- Galileo, Juno Saturn-Cassini, Voyager 2 Neptune-Voyager 2 Pluto- Mars- Apollo Missions, Chandrayaan Sun- Parker Solar Probe is a planned NASA robotic spacecraft to probe the outer corona of the Sun. It will approach to within 8.5 solar radii